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Discussion in 'Autonomous Vehicles' started by strangecosmos, Dec 5, 2018.
Blog post from Waymo CEO John Krafcik: Waymo One: The next step on our self-driving journey
So it is being offered to a limited set of beta test users, with a backup human driver, in a limited geographic area. Color me unimpressed.
I'm extremely impressed by Google's advancement in the field. However, I cant help but to think Tesla's Autopilot made them want to speed up production. It was hilarious to see them partner with Jaguar too!
It is interesting that Google went the route of super expensive low volume vehicles that do ride sharing, vs. a more affordable product everyone could have in their garage.
The most interesting thing that will come out of Waymo One are the vlogs by riders and journalists, since (I believe) Waymo One users will not be under a non-disclosure agreement. I hope there are a lot of vlogs.
Just saw that some Arizona media folks followed some Waymos for 170 miles and captured some clips:
It should know by now that the way they mark their cars with all the sensors and something stick up the roof should attract some attention.
And when they did, they would fool its stalkers by leading them to a police station and had the police waited there to question the stalkers!
We'll see how transparent they'll be if ever!
The problem with being impressed or not compared to Tesla is that it requires accepting a lot of theoreticals. Certainly it was impressive to hear Tesla announce Level 5 capable hardware in 2016 but since then all that progress towards Level 5 hasn’t really materialized as such.
We have no way of knowing when, how or even if Tesla will be able to turn their beta driver’s aid volume deployment into autonomous driving. That equation changes a lot when you consider the possibility that Tesla can’t make it work faster this way than the competition.
In the meanwhile we have Waymo accepting paying customers and our biggest concern is it being too careful in unprotected left turns. It is a complete unknown when Tesla might even be making unprotected left turns for customers without a driver holding the wheel.
That's Waymo's, and everyone else's, goal. Which is only to provide autonomous taxi or ride hailing services in certain areas. I don't see anyone's program, other than Tesla's, is aimed at or could lead to, eventually sell you an autonomous car that you can put in your garage and have it to go to anywhere in the country you want it to.
Even for that there are still some unanswered questions of how the Waymo 1 program works. Not everyone could hail the ride like you could with Uber or Lyft. One has to be prequalified to call the ride service. What conditions you have to me to qualify? Do you need to sign the NDA? And can you ask a ride to go between any two points through any roads or side streets even within the small designated area? Answer to that could give a lot of clues to capability of the system.
I disagree this is Waymo’s goal. This is their beginning. An autonomous taxi fleet is one method of building up and validating autonomous driving techonology that can eventually scale into other things through technology partnerships and such — Waymo already has one with Jaguar that is intended to go both ways.
As for someone else working on generic autonomous cars clearly also MobilEye and the traditional premium brands are working on just that. They have their roadmap difference with Tesla but the goal again is absolutely the same. Frankly I have no idea what Elon was talking about when he said that they were the only one. Hyperbole as usual.
Lidars will come down in price and size but I always wonder about how prohibitive it actually would be even if they did not. If there really was a legal autonomous car on the market or the safest autonomous car had a cupola on the roof, people would simply not care. Taking your kids to school or yourself from back the bar safely and legally would be a massive killer app. A cupola on your car might even become desireable — the new notch.
I don't see how this announcement is any different than the earlier program called "Early Rider Program."
The striking difference is the name change and that free program now starts to collect money.
Prior to this announcement, Waymo planned to have no human at the driver's seat and it had videos to prove that: NO HUMAN DRIVERS!
However, with this current announcement and program, human at the driver seat is back!
I welcome the human back at the driver seat because I think it's wise to have a backup system even when it gave us a demo of driverless video.
However, this is an admission of a step backward in term of the program's progress.
Taking money and apparently not requiring NDAs anymore does come with its own liabilities — suggesting a certain level of maturing, no?
I guess we will know soon enough from the reports but I don’t see a passive safety driver as indicative of anything much really unless the reports come back saying the drivers are constantly taking the wheel. The Verge’s anecdotal journalist commentary suggested a system that has been progressing and maturing nicely.
The safety drivers may well be there for reasons completely unrelated to technical progress much like Tesla’s nags have not been only driven by technical maturity of the product but by unrelated events.
This is the proper way to go. Playing it safe first!
Waymo’s plan indeed does make sense. First validate the system internally in testing areas, then elevate the most mature of those testing areas into early riders for consumer feedback gathering and as those mature move on to Waymo One for actual commercial use. It starts out small but once the technology matures certainly the pace could also increase.
The question remains how fast is that ramp-up and will someone currently behind overtake this approach. But it does make sense.
Perfect for retrofit on those panoramic glass roofs that are so in the wind nowadays
Of course it is. How is someone running a fleet of hundreds or thousands cars each equipped with an expensive Lidar in small limited areas is going to achieve general autonomous driving? There is little hope, if at all, that LIDAR will be cheap and practical enough to put in every car in the forseeable future. No to mention anything they developed with LIDAR, as Elon describes as on crutches, will need to be redone when they switch to other types of sensors. Waymo is not that dumb. Autonomous taxi or ride hailing is exactly the market it's after.
As for the planned Jaguar car purchase Waymo is just to use them to expand its ride hailing or test fleet. It's not to make autonomous car Jaguar or anyone else could sell to customers to put in the garage.
Someone is "working on" something is not the same as someone, borrowing the phrase Elon likes to use, has a clear path to get there. Remember only a couple years ago Mobileye was still dead set against full autonomous driving and was discouranging others to do so. It was even lobbying agencies to slow down the approval process largely because it pretty much owned the driver assistance market and did not want anything to disrupt it. They have to jump on the wagon now but what they had really is not a workable to way to get there.
Whereas Google started its development as one of the moonshot projects without any practicle purposes in mind and selected LIDAR, Mobileye has never had the vision (excuse the pun) of autonomous driving when developing its image chips. It is now trying to use the same technology with the wishful thinking that adding improvements will enable them to get there. They will get better driver assistance but autonomous driving? I don't believe so.
It's pretty clear Tesla saw the "clear path" from the very begining so it chose to put cameras and computers in every car it sells regardless if you purchased the option or not. Not saying there will not be a lot of challenges along the way, or if it will need better brains (processor and learning algorithm), but Tesla is the only company that has set up the ground work to reach general autonomous driving. No one else does. It's pretty clear to Elon when he made that comment.
@CarlK Thank you for the reply. I think we are too far apart in our views to do much good here but I will merely for your information try to list my agreements and disagreements with the above.
I agree Waymo started out at Google as a moonshot project before it was called Waymo without a clear goal. This was a decade+ ago.
I disagree Waymo’s goal is merely a taxi fleet nor is it merely a moonshot anymore. The goal was defined and redefined later.
I disagree Waymo’s collaboration with Jaguar is simply about buying cars for their taxi fleet though I agree that is a part of it. There is another component to it.
I disagree Waymo’s technology choices somehow would prohibit evolving the sensor suite to fit consumer cars. I especially disagree with Lidar price or miniatyrization being an issue.
I agree seeing Waymo’s technology in consumer cars is way way off though timewise and might take different shapes. Their way of ramping up is through the evolution of the taxi fleet and validating the technology there before moving onto other things — second step will likely be heavy traffic for example.
I disagree MobilEye didn’t have an autonomous plan. Actually I strongly disagree here.
I disagree Tesla had an autonomous plan before MobilEye. Waymo got there before MobilEye but MobilEye got there before Tesla in my view. MobilEye is of course also taking things step by step and have a different way to this than either Waymo or Tesla. It is definitely possible MobilEye might overtake Waymo.
The thing is. Putting some hardware suite in a million cars is not the only way to lay the groundwork for autonomous. None of that helps if the hardware turns out insufficient or you can’t make the software to run it for example or regulators deem it insufficient.
There are other ways to lay the groundwork, working step by step and expanding from there in various ways is another route. Waymo and MobilEye are showing different ways of laying the groundwork but I do think they are laying that groundwork. And as you know I believe they are ahead of Tesla in doing it. You disagree and that is OK for sure.
Another good telltale is everyone except Tesla and Waymo are trying to form partnership with other companies to develop the technoloy. Not only development consortium rarely if ever works the question comes up is why you want to share it with others if you're so confident that you can get there first? Kind of like when you see those late night infomercials telling you sure fire ways to make money. Yes you're so sure of that you don't even want to keep it for yourself.
It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would scale well to mass production vehicles, but I do love those cute lil wipers. Waymo’s pure robotaxi model means it can have expensive components that break a lot and everything will be fine. Just bring the van into the garage. If a car gets stranded, you can send out a driver to pick it up and take it back home in manual mode. Different requirements versus the Tesla model.
There is a lidar hidden on this photo.
You seem to know little about the car industry. I could fill this page with successful collaboration examples.
No snippiness, please!